[Footage Description: 3:14 video of Alison (white signing womxn wearing a grey felt hoodie and a slate grey cap, leaning against steps. Background is a reddish wall) discussing some brief thoughts related to the safety pin campaign and her own anti-racism process.]
Alison: Hey. I just wanted to make a quick short video related to the safety pins campaign. I’ve been thinking a lot these days about my own journey/process with anti-racism work. I’m still traveling that road, still learning.
One big hurdle, for me, personally- the thing that left me really struggling to push myself out of my comfort zone? I had developed close relationships with – this is related to my work on facing racism—people of color. We became close- listened, dialogued, and it was really raw. It was also a big part of what allowed me to unpack a lot of misconceptions and biases I had, ways that my white lens affected my perceptions. Understand, though—I became real comfortable there, in that bubble of supporting and empathizing and validating – yes, yes, I see racism. That was racist. Etc. But the hurdle? It was moving away from that space of 1:1 engagement with people of color to confronting my white peers. My family. My co-workers. My friends. White people in everyday situations. Pushing for policy change. Calling in, calling out. I wasn’t doing those things. It took me a while to do that. It was scary for me and I think that’s a normal part of the process.
So there’s something about the safety pin thing that brings up those thoughts for me. It’s like a thing where we specifically try to reassure people of color that we are here for them, we’re a safe person, we support them. And then… nothing. Some people, of course, will do more. But others will just stop at wearing the pin and not take further, needed action.
And if we are truly passionate about liberation for everyone, equity for everyone? We can’t just stay in that bubble where we let people of color know we support them (and that’s all we do). That in itself allows oppression to continue. We white folks benefit from that feeling of, “I’m a good person. I support people of color. They can depend on me.” But people of color are still stuck in the same place, still being oppressed and mistreated. Because white supremacy is still a problem, still oppressive. We need to be going out and doing the work by approaching and confronting racism with white people, white supremacist policies and systems. Talk to white people about their (our) racism. Insist on change. Not just stay in those smaller bubbles, encourage people to depend on us, need us. “We will keep you safe! (maybe)” And… you know. I just feel icky about that. I think we need to examine that part of ourselves.
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